CHARLES Dunne is hoping to have a career at international level after pledging his allegiance to the Republic of Ireland.

The Lambeth-born teenager qualifies to play for the Emerald Isle through his mother, and he's recently applied for an Irish passport to help realise his ambition of playing internationally.

Defender Dunne's first target is to get into the U21 setup before hoping to attract the attention of Ireland's veteran manager Giovanni Trapattoni.

Playing international football would be quite a turnaround for a player who was still playing park football two years ago.

The 19-year-old said: "My passport should be here in a few weeks - hopefully things can happen from there and I hope to try and impress them.

"U21 is my first aim, then see what happens. I want to do my best and hopefully get in the first team one day."

Dunne admits he wasn't able to follow Ireland's fortunes too closely when he was growing up, but that's changed with the progression of time.

He said: "It wasn't really publicised too much in England. I didn't follow them much but now as I've got older I feel it's part of my life. I follow them more and I've wanted to get involved."

Ireland's U21 side don't play again until August when they start their qualifying campaign for the 2015 European Championships with an away game against the Faroe Islands.

The Republic are also in the same group as Germany, Romania and Montenegro.